Quintessential dish: Barely poached local egg with Italian truffle pearls. Read more about this amazing Miami talent, one of the new Food & Wine Best New Chefs.
Where: Alter, Miami
223 NW 23rd St.; 305-573-5996; altermiami.com
Why Kilgore is amazing: In an unassuming concrete building, in Miami’s up-and-coming Wynwood neighborhood, Kilgore is serving some of the country’s most brilliant and playful dishes. His version of cassoulet features mahimahi, with rye bread, smoked white beans and serrano ham jus.
Born: Lenexa, KS, 1986
Résumé: J & G Grill at The St. Regis, Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami; Epic, Boka, Chicago
Education: Johnson & Wales University, Denver
Quintessential dish: Soft, barely poached local egg with Italian truffle pearls and scallop-and-Gruyère foam. "It’s a local soft poached egg at the bottom of the bowl hidden under a few layers. There’s a layer of dehydrated Gruyère cheese, some truffle pearls that mimic caviar—made from Italian truffles—olive oil, chives, and the main component is a very light scallop and Gruyère foam. For $10 more you can add caviar. I want guests to be able to enjoy something over the top without breaking their wallets."
First restaurant job: A dishwasher in sixth grade. "While I was in the back dish room, I would help them prep things like biscuits and fresh orange juice, and that evolved into going on the line and listening to orders. They had six or seven different types of bread, and I would start putting them in the toaster. Next to the toaster was the pancake and French toast station. The chefs saw that I was capable of firing breakfast dishes; soon I was technically cooking orders when I was 10 or 11 years old."
Side project: Working as a mentor for a food truck staffed by underprivileged teenagers in Wynwood. "Basically it’s inner-city kids who needed a job. I did a menu that was a compilation of classic Americana with a twist. We had poutine with mole gravy and duck confit; a bacon-wrapped hot dog with kimchi guacamole; a burger with mayonnaise and an egg on top. It was an eclectic menu with a food truck spin. Now the kids know all those recipes. They travel around in the truck to different events and still serve several of those dishes that I trained them on."
Hidden talent: He can recite the alphabet backward.
Guilty-pleasure food: Velveeta cheese
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